Steampunk Canada

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Review - The Peculiar

Posted by Lee A. Farruga on November 11, 2012 at 7:25 AM

Today we have a special guest reviewer:

Miranda Gilliland is a professional artist, a published poet and a recognized writer of dark fiction... and she's only 15 years old.  She is a ravenous reader and loves many genres, including steampunk.  Stefan Bachmann, the author of The Peculiar, was only 16 when he started writing it in 2010. The two share a lot in common. Miranda was the perfect teenager to review The Peculiar, which is written by a young adult for young adults. 

I was intrigued by the story from the very beginning.  In particular, there was a lady in a plum dress, and on the back of her head was a face.  His name is Jack Box.  I found his character very well developed.  It's complicated and interesting, and really damn hard to explain, but the way he is developed is absolutely fantastic.  Other characters were simply there to play a part, but he made for a richer story.

I also thought at the beginning that the main character focused upon would be Bartholomew, but actually he is not the only main character of the book.  His viewpoint and that of Mr. Jelliby are the two main ones throughout the story, with a handful of other less significant viewpoints that flesh out the story and add detail to the plot.  I like the way the author used the viewpoints. They added dramatic irony.

A peculiar is a changeling. A kid who is half fairy and half human. I say kid, because they usually got killed before getting very old.  This was a normal occurrance in the book. They were hated.  People felt they didn't belong.  It was a very racist attitude amongst fairies and humans toward the changelings.  Bartholomew and his sister Hettie are changelings.  Their father was a sidhe who would come and go.  Their mom was the only one who loved them.  One of the few others in the book who saw peculiars simply as people was Mr. Arthur Jelliby, a member of parliament. 

Another member of parliament, Mr. Lickerish is a sidhe trying to open a door to the old country.  He and his lackies are up to no good.  When Bartholomew's sister Hettie becomes involved, he sets out to save her. 

Mr. Jelliby  learns of Mr. Lickerish's nefarious plot. He also becomes more involed when he is asked for help by the lady in the plum dress.  On top of everything else, Bartholomew and Mr. Jelliby have to stop Mr. Lickerish from killing everyone in England.  How they do this is really complicated.

Have I mentioned it's complicated.  It will take less time to understand the story if you just read the book, then for me to explain it.  But the story is great and it is well worth it. I really liked this book and I highly recommend it to most people over 12 years old.

You can find out more about  The Peculiar at the author's website Scathing Jellyfish

You can purchase this book for yourself or your favourite teen at

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